MOUNT VERNON — “It ain’t over ’til it’s over.”
Yogi Berra’s famous line was a motto the Kiwanis Babe Ruth baseball team lived by on the biggest stage Tuesday.
Kiwanis scored three times with two outs in its final at-bat to beat Moose, 4-3, and win the Mount Vernon Babe Ruth tournament title.
“We knew we had another chance tomorrow, but it was nice to finish it up tonight,” said Kiwanis coach Terry Zeller.
“They played a great game. They made some great defensive plays. They deserve to be the champs,” said Moose coach Dave Bolander.
The Kiwanians trailed 3-1 heading into their final at bat. Tim Zeller got a one-out single, then moved to second when Steve Bell walked. After a strikeout put Moose within one out of forcing a second game, the wheels fell off for the team.
Jacob Biggum walked and Bolander went to his bullpen. Jarret Whitt welcomed reliever Micah Bolander with a double down the right-field line that tied the game at 3. Logan Hill was intentionally walked to load up the bases, bringing up Griffin Menke. Kiwanis’ best hitter delivered big time, smacking a single up the middle to win the game and the tournament title.
“Griffin’s our best. He’s hit over .500 this year. He’s done this all year,” said coach Zeller. “We were kind of depending on the bottom of our order to get on. We figured if we could get back to the top, we were in good shape. Jarret came through with a huge hit.”
“I left our starter (Justin Davis) in a batter too long,” said coach Bolander. “He had only thrown two or three innings at a time for us. He wanted it and wanted to take it home. I just left him in too long.”
For 6 2/3 innings, it was pretty much all Moose. The squad in blue started the game on fire, scoring twice in the first inning.
Brandon Fry led off the game with a single and scored on another by Davis. Addison Evans, who had reached on an error, also scored for Moose. It looked like it might be a huge inning, but Kiwanis came through with a couple of nice defensive plays to stop the bleeding.